Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Research Assistant Professor
My research interests are focused on bacterial pathogenesis. One major research focus involves otitis media (OM) or middle ear disease. Our studies suggest that colonization with Moraxella catarrhalis may predispose patients to subsequent colonization with the other major otopathogens, S. pneumoniae and/or non-typable Haemophilus influenzae, likely in the context of polymicrobial biofilms. Our research efforts seek to define mechanisms of biofilm formation/stability and identify the factors that signal the transition from asymptomatic mucosal colonization to OM.
A second major focus of our OM research involves the identification of novel antimicrobial therapies. Antibiotic resistance is a major health care problem worldwide, thus identifying new approaches to treat chronic/recurrent OM infections is critical. Our studies indicate that photodynamic therapy (PDT), a cancer treatment that combines nontoxic photosensitizers and low intensity visible light, elicits significant bactericidal activity against the major otopathogens. The goal of this translational research project is to adapt PDT into an efficacious, noninvasive treatment for bacterial OM, which would not only significantly decrease the use of antibiotics in young children but would also decrease the morbidity associated with chronic infections.
Our third major research focus is on the development of novel antimicrobial approaches for treatment of prosthetic device-related infections. Infection following orthopedic intervention is associated with increased patient morbidity, chronic illness and increased health care costs. The primary source of orthopedic chronic infections is bacterial biofilms on implanted materials and surrounding bone/tissue. In collaboration with colleagues in UB’s Department of Orthopaedics, we are investigating a novel electrical stimulation method that exhibits synergism with antimicrobial therapy to prevent and eradicate biofilm infections on orthopedic implants. The goal of this research project is to design a broadly efficacious therapeutic antimicrobial regimen that would decrease infections after clinical orthopedic interventions, including knee/hip replacements and insertion of prosthetic devices.
I am a member of the laboratory of Anthony Campagnari, Ph.D. and teach for the undergraduate, medical and dental school programs.